The Bengals let much maligned center Russell Bodine walk after the disastrous 2017 season and decided to finally invest in a premium center in the draft. In the first round of the 2018 draft, the Bengals selected Ohio State center Billy Price, who is one of the top center prospects of the last couple years and is expected to be an instant-upgrade for the Bengals at the position. This may be the first time in Andy Daltons career where he will feel comfortable stepping up into the pocket now with Price manning the pivot spot. Despite an illustrious career at Ohio State, a lot of casual fans don’t know much about Price, outside of him being a football player.
Here are five things to know about the Bengals’ 2018 first round pick, Billy Price.
1. Price was originally recruited as a defensive tackle, but switched to play on the offensive line early on.
Coming out of high school Price was a four star recruit as a defensive tackle. He got to Ohio State in the summer and realized he hated playing defensive line at the collegiate level. He ended up asking Urban Meyer if he could switch positions and the rest was history. He immediately became more comfortable after struggling early on and ended up making a huge mark on a number of extremely successful Ohio State teams, even winning a National Championship with the school. Price played guard in his first college season, starting all 15 games (the first three at left guard and the next 12 at right) on the national champion team in 2014. He started every game at left guard the following year, and then switched back to the right side as a junior team captain. In his final season, he played center and that’s now where he’s expected to continue playing at the NFL level.
2. Price earned an operations management degree and spent the past semester getting a head start on his masters.
A lot of the more successful student-athletes at the collegiate level are just trying to get through school so they can get to the pros and start earning the big paychecks. That is not the case with Price who earned his operations management degree and was making progress toward a graduate degree this past past semester of college. These guys can’t play football forever so it is always nice to see them making progress on something that could help with their life afterward. Heck it might be helpful with taking care of his finances even while he is playing. A lot of the Bengals’ more successful players have done this, including Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson. Currently, KeiVarae Russell is working toward a masters degree at Notre Dame.
3. Price holds the record for the longest starting streak in OSU football history with 55 straight starts.
The one thing Bengals fans could definitely say about Bodine is that he was able to stay healthy. Despite the fact that Price was injured during the bench press at the combine, it looks like Bengals fans can once again look forward to consistent health at the center position. Price holds the record for most consecutive starts in Ohio State history with 55 straight games started. Hopefully that health continues in the pros as the Bengals need him to immediately have a big impact if they want to transform into the playoff team that they were two seasons ago.
4. Price won the Rimington Trophy in 2017, awarded to the best center in college football. He helped pave the way for more than 3,000 rushing yards last season.
The Bengals have struggled to run the ball for the last couple of seasons and have worked to address that in the past two drafts. First, the selection of John Ross was made to help stretch the field and then, the selection of Joe Mixon upgraded the running back position. Once again this year, trading for Cordy Glenn and selecting Billy Price upgraded two positions on the offensive line. Price should definitely be able to help the run game after being one of the best blockers for a great running game at Ohio State.
5. Price attended high school in Youngstown, Ohio and went on to OSU. Now he’s a Bengal. He’s never been on a football team not in the state of Ohio!
Price, like Bengals third round draft pick Sam Hubbard played high school football, college football, and now professional football in the state of Ohio. Both won a National Championship with Ohio State and now hope to bring that winning history with them to the Bengals for the team’s first Super Bowl win. Also, hopefully both players end up playing out their entire football career in Ohio with long. successful careers as Bengals.